- Visa & Immigration Procedure in Japan
- Visa Categories and Requirements in Japan
Core Requirements for Main Visa Categories
All Japanese visas are based on a certain activity in Japan (for example, work or study), a relationship with someone who is based in Japan or a close connection with the Japanese country.
Therefore, generally when applying for any kind of Work Visa or Non-Working Activities Visa, it is necessary to have a hosting organization in Japan - most commonly an employer for a work visa application, a company in Japan which the applicant wishes to operate or an educational institution for a student visa application. The only exception for this is for special Work Visa categories like the journalist visa (in cases where the applicant intends to work in Japan as a journalist on behalf of a foreign media organization) and the artist visas (where the activities are generally more independent than other roles), being special categories where a visa sponsor is not required. This hosting organization is often referred to as the “visa sponsor” and it is necessary to secure this visa sponsor before applying for a visa. The visa sponsor must provide various documents and information in relation to its business, financials and taxes for the Work Visa application.
Similarly, when applying for a Family Related Visa based on a relationship with someone who is based in Japan (for example, when an applicant who is married to a Japanese national applies for a spouse visa), in is necessary to have an inviter / certain family member in Japan (commonly the Japanese spouse for a spouse visa application). The inviter / family member must provide various documents and information in relation to his / her work, income and taxes for the Family Related Visa application.
In addition to this general requirement, there are more detailed requirements that are designated per visa category. Below is a general explanation of the key requirements for each of the most common visa categories. However, please note that the specifics may vary depending on each situation.
Business Manager Visa
In order to obtain the business manager visa, the main requirements are:
- To register a company and invest at least 5 million yen into the company (this money can later be used for the company’s business activities, like supplying costs, paying salaries and office rent, etc.), or to have already established a company meeting the foresaid investment requirement.
- To be in the top ranking executive position at your Japanese company (i.e. generally this means that you should be the registered representative of your Japanese company) and not to engage in any simple labor work such as cleaning, cooking, serving tables, etc. For mid-sized to large companies, this visa is granted to those who are in executive positions or management positions.
- To have a physical, dedicated office space (separated by door and walls) that only your business/company uses, which is contracted for business use and has the capacity to accommodate at least 2 people (or the number of people who are supposted to work in the company). Arrangements where you are allocated a dedicated desk inside a shared room with others and virtual addresses will not meet the requirements. We recommend a contract length of at least one year, and if creating a company, the contract should be under your company name (if the counterparty does not allow you to contract under the company name before the actual establishment has been completed, you can contract under your personal name during the initial stages, but the contract should be changed over to the company name after the establishment has been completed).
- To prove that the applicant has the skills to operate a business, based on educational and/or work experience
- To prove how the invested funds were obtained (for example, if the investment funds are coming from your savings etc from your earnings, you will need to provide a salary verification letter from previous organizations or a copy of your tax returns, etc)
- Applicants are strongly advised to provide letters from overseas group companies or Japanese clients/companies, stating specific projects and/or contract terms under which they plan to work with your Japanese business (or at the very least, a letter stating their intension to work with your Japanese business)
- To receive a monthly salary of at least 200,000-250,000 yen from the Japanese company after obtaining the visa (or slightly higher, depending on family size)
- To have an appropriate business plan detailing the activities and how they can be feasible, along with a financial forecast with at least 10 million yen sales and 5 million yen expenses (excluding the salary of the Business Manager visa applicant) per year
- To have plans to hire local employees who will take care of all the manual / simple labor work such as cleaning, cooking, serving tables, etc. (in case of hospitality / accommodation / food services) or the admin / secretarial works requiring Japanese proficiency
- Also, in order to be able to maintain / renew the visa smoothly, Immigration looks at business size, meaning that ideally your company should be generating at least 10 million yen in sales and spend about 5 million yen in expenses (excluding the salary that the investor earns for his/her position as representative) per year. The Immigration Office is usually quite understanding during the first few years so generally it is okay even if the company does not clear these figures for the first few years, but eventually you may have trouble extending your visa if the business size is too small. Usually, businesses of this scope usually require the involvement of one or a few full or part time employees, but the employment in itself is actually not a requirement
Generally when obtaining this visa with a relatively new and / or small business, the first visa granted is usually a one year visa. In order to be able to maintain / renew the visa smoothly, Immigration looks at business size, which is determined based on factors like company revenue, expenses and employee headcount.
Certified as Immigration Lawyers by the Immigration Office of Japan, we can help you with obtaining an appropriate visa and with other immigration procedures.